Look really closely (maybe you should try squinting) and you'll be able to see that the BMW 5-series has been refreshed for 2008. The differences may be small, but exterior changes take a little Bangle out of the 5, and new clear lens head- and taillamps bring design consistency with the 3-series and the new X5. Inside, the 5-series also borrows the X5's new shift lever, and while some of us find the shifter simple and beautiful, some think it's an unnecessary change. By ponying up some extra cash, one can also have the option of clicking through gears via steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Like the 2007 3-series line, the '08 5-series gets a new set of six cylinder engines. The 528i (a retuned version of last year's 525i) is powered by a 3.0-liter, 230 horsepower in-line six, while 535i uses a turbocharged version of the same engine, with an output of 300 horsepower. The V-8 powered 550i keeps the same 360-horsepower engine that was added last year. All will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but the six-speed automatic box is available at no extra cost.
As expected, a few new gadgets are available to keep the 5 in electronic power race that is this segment. BMW's adaptive cruise control can now completely stop the car, and a lane departure warning is also available. Look for the new 5-series and all its electro-goodies to hit dealers later this spring.